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New Day Sunday

Trump's Impeachment Defense Attorneys Quit Days Before Trial; McCarthy Cancels Tuesday House GOP Leadership Meeting; Greene Boasts Of Call With Trump; U.S. Surpasses 26 Million Coronavirus Cases; COVID-19 Hospitalizations Fall Below 100,000 In The U.S.; CDC: U.S. Has Administered More Than 29 Million Doses Of Vaccine; Biden Administration Makes Case For COVID-19 Relief To Americans. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired January 31, 2021 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just a little more than a week before former President Trump's second impeachment trial begins. We are learning his five defense team lawyers have quit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a disaster for the defense.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Our battle is no longer just Republican versus Democrat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not the party I joined. This is not the party, you know, that really is for conservative principles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I cannot do is continue to look over my shoulder wondering if a white supremacist in Congress by the name of Marjorie Taylor Greene are conspiring against us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: January was the deadliest month of this year-long pandemic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can keep up with the virus as long as we continue to invest in surveillance.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Starting this morning with the look over the beautiful city of New York. Thank you so much for being with us for the start of the show. Just over a week now, a little more than a week until his second impeachment trial and former President Trump has no defense team. CNN has learned that all five attorneys on his impeachment defense team have quit. And sources tell CNN that the president -- former president, wanted them to argue the election was stolen from him. You know that's a lie.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: The sudden departures come amid these fractures that we've been watching in the GOP. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has canceled an upcoming house leadership meeting now as the party grapples with infighting over former President Trump's impeachment and what to do with the defiant conspiracy theorist congresswoman who says that Trump has her back.

CNN's Daniella Diaz is live from Capitol Hill. Daniella, good to see you this morning. I know that we are just really eight days away from the second impeachment trial in the Senate. Set the stage for us as to where things stand at the moment.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: That right, guys. Look, CNN broke the news last night that Donald's five impeachment lawyers have left his team. It's just one week away before the Senate trial is supposed to begin. CNN learned that Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, the two lead impeachment attorneys, left his team as well as three other attorneys that were set to defend him next week.

Look, Bowers was clear with Trump. He wanted to argue about the legality of convicting a former president. Trump was clear with Bowers. He wanted him to argue that there was massive election fraud and that the election was stolen from him.

So, look, guys, this leaves us with no idea whether Trump will hire a new team in the next week. We don't know how this is going to look. That's what his spokesman told CNN -- Jason Miller told us that they are planning on figuring out that process this week. And, look, Trump has no strategy, no plan, and it's only more than one week away left for the Senate impeachment trial is set to begin -- guys.

BLACKWELL: Let's turn to Congress and the House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy canceled this leadership meeting that is scheduled for Tuesday. He says there was -- his office, rather, says there was a travel conflict. He has not said much about the fighting within the conference. Where is the party now and what is next?

DIAZ: Look, Victor, on one hand you have Marjorie Taylor Greene who tweeted yesterday that she had a great call with President Trump. That comes as this past week Democrats were riled up. They were upset. They want to see action against her very controversial comments and statements.

She has liked social media posts calling for the execution of Nancy Pelosi. She has called school shootings a false flag operation. And then on the other hand you have House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who is largely silent this week and traveled to Mar-a-Lago to be with President Donald Trump.

That's where he was at. Now, he canceled this leadership meeting on Tuesday citing a travel conflict, but that comes before a GOP-wide conference meeting on Wednesday where they are set to air their grievances. You would think he would want to meet with the leadership.

And on the other hand, you have Congressman Matt Gaetz, who traveled to Wyoming to campaign against the number third House Republican Liz Cheney. Now, he is upset with her for supporting and voting for impeachment in the House. So with all of these things leading up to the House session that starts on Monday, lawmakers will be back. We will see them on Capitol Hill -- guys.

BLACKWELL: Daniella Diaz. Thank you.

PAUL: Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun-Times" with us this morning, as well as, Guy Smith, a special adviser to former President Clinton during his impeachment.


Thank you both so much for being here. Guy, I want to start with you. So, we're eight days before this trial. There are legal briefs we know that are due next week. It seems outlandish to some that you have a team of attorneys who would bail on a case that is as magnified as this is with just eight days to go. What would prompt, in your opinion, an action like that, not just from one attorney, but from five?

GUY SMITH, SPECIAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT CLINTON DURING IMPEACHMENT: Well, an attorney has to be able to trust his client and her client, and in this case that clearly, according to CNN's reporting the president -- the former president wants to continue the big lie, and anybody that's connected to the real world knows that the election was not fraudulent and they can't argue this. These are real lawyers in the real legal community, and it really looks like it's that simple.

And so here we are coming up on an extraordinarily historic really for the history books, and the former president is complete chaos, which is the hallmark of his administration anyway. But this puts the Republican Senate, the Republican senators in a really tough spot because if there is -- the defense was already going to be very difficult and even though impeachment is really political, these guys have to make it look like they are defending something. And this is just the kind of chaos is extraordinary.

PAUL: Lynn, what are you hearing about these reports that President Trump wanted the attorneys to argue election fraud as opposed to the legality of potentially convicting a former president to this point?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Well, it shows in the analysis that the disconnect is still there. Trump is going to win the case. We know that there are 45 -- we know that there are 45 senators that are going to vote to convict. So -- excuse me, that are going to vote to acquit.

So he wants to talk about being defended for arson when he is being indicted for grand theft auto. He doesn't get it. So the hearing is, though based on the test vote a few days ago that they had on a procedural motion that showed 45 Republican senators are going to be for him. The analysis is no matter how lame the defense is it still might be the case.

PAUL: So, Guy, speaking of the defense, two scenarios. Who might step in and be his legal counsel, or, two, is there in any expectations or any plausibility do you think that he might just say I am going to do this myself?

SMITH: I don't think he would do that. I mean, he is not -- even he is not that crazy. Maybe Alan Dershowitz and they might be able to recruit some folks like that. There will be somebody. They will be able to recruit somebody. And as Lynn just said, it will be a lame defense.

And what will happen is, he is very likely to be acquitted unless, and think about this, a week ago, think about what we didn't know about the planning that went into the insurrection at the Capitol. What will we know one week from today? What will we know about the pipe bombers? What will we know more about the planning? Will there be another Raffensperger tape like in Georgia with the president's voice on it? That could change the dynamic completely.

PAUL: So, Lynn, when we talk about the speculation about potential implosion in the GOP at this point, I am wondering, how do the consequences of whatever happens with President Trump's impeachment frame what happens next with the GOP?

SWEET: Well, let's think, we're at a point now where the Republican Party, the House Republicans, are more intent on punishing Liz Cheney, one of the 10 Republicans who voted with Democrats to impeach, than on giving any punishment to Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene with her outrageous and disgusting comments that she makes.

So they have a lot to look at within themselves of what the party is about right now and what they are doing to win at all costs by letting Trump, in a sense, call the shots. So we have these things happening. Two streets are about to intersect on this one.


But if the trial is short for President Trump, ex-president Trump, then it may be that the overwhelming agenda of new president Biden comes in and the Republican Party in a sense finds a way to at least messaging-wise turn the page. The internal rifts, however, will continue.

PAUL: Guy, Josh Howard of North Carolina was an associate independent counsel on Whitewater, on the Monica Lewinsky investigation. He has spent a decade at the DOJ. He is one of the attorneys that walked away from this overnight.

Did you work with him? Help us understand who he is and not only did you mention the mistrust, obviously, but as we understand it, there were no letters of intent signed and no fees paid in advance to any of these attorneys. Could that have been an issue?

SMITH: I did not work directly with him, but he was a very respected member of the bar, as were -- as are these other four who have also walked away. And what is happening here is just the kind of chaos that I was mentioning. And that kind of chaos didn't exist in the earlier time.

I mean, it's brand new, and what we're seeing is, as Lynn just said, we are watching the disintegration of the Republican Party in real time. You've got the traditionalists, the old -- Cold War Republican Party of the values of limited government, low taxes, not much regulation versus the Trump chaos Republican Party.

You got Matt Gaetz, he couldn't find Wyoming on a map, and he goes out to Wyoming to campaign against Liz Cheney, not really a liberal person. And this is what's going to happen. No matter what happens in the impeachment trial the Republicans are in a world of hurt from a political standpoint. And it puts President Biden in a very strong position to advance his agenda.

PAUL: Lynn Sweet, Guy Smith, we so value your perspectives here. Thank you both for being with us.

SWEET: Thank you.

SMITH: Great to be with you.

PAUL: Absolutely.

So for more political headlines and analysis by the way you do not want to miss an all new "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" with our own Abby Phillip this morning at 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Also ahead, protesters forced health officials to temporarily close a drive-through vaccination site. Also, what we're seeing for the first time in months and the number of people with COVID in hospitals.

PAUL: And the White House tries to keep the focus on its COVID relief bill before lawmakers turn their attention to the impeachment trial. Where things stand right now with all of it? Stay close.



BLACKWELL: Anti-vaccination protesters forced Los Angeles officials to temporarily close one of the county's largest vaccination sites yesterday. The protesters blocked the entrance to Dodger Stadium as people lined up to be vaccinated.

PAUL: Now, officials say they were able to continue vaccinating people already inside even as the protests continued. But the L.A. Fire Department says the protesters eventually gave up and left that and that allowed them to resume normal operations.

BLACKWELL: The U.S. has surpassed 26 million coronavirus cases and the pace at which those case numbers are climbing is accelerating. It took the U.S. 311 days to reach its first 13 million cases. The U.S. has reached its second 13 million cases in 64 days. PAUL: And nearly 400,000 Americans have been killed by this virus. I do want to give you some good news because when we find it, we want to share it, especially when it comes to the number of hospitalizations.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is following the latest on that. Polo, we could all use good news. Give it to us.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. You know, we have waited months to hear things like this, that there is finally some positive information coming out regarding the number of COVID patients that are waking up in hospitals this morning. We're going to get to that in just a second.

But, first, there is also a concerning projection that is being released by the influential IHME model that now suggesting that even if Americans did everything right, we are talking masks, social distancing, now we could lose up to 130,000 more people in the next three months. Of course, the big factor here, these emerging variants, I just checked the CDC's numbers a little while ago, 437 cases and that number is on the rise.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): For the first time in almost 60 days COVID-19 hospitalizations in the country fell below 100,000. Last week zero states logged record hospitalization highs. The last time that happened was November 5th.

These are just a few positive developments as the pandemic continues taking its toll. For more than nine months the people living at the Adrian Dominican Sisters mother house in Michigan managed to keep the virus at bay, but this month despite maintaining strict safety protocols it managed to make it on to the campus infecting 48 sisters, killing nine.

SISTER PATRICIA SIEMEN, OP, PRIORESS OF THE ADRIAN DOMINICAN SISTERS: Until it personally touches you, I don't care how much we're going to have a sympathetic heart, it's different when you've already been there and you have lost someone.

SANDOVAL: These nuns are now among the over 438,000 Americans who have died with COVID-19. This weekend California became the second state to surpass 40,000 COVID deaths. The first being New York.

Shots are going into arms, nearly 60 percent of over 49 million distributed COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered as of Saturday according to the CDC. The U.S. has already detected highly contagious variants of COVID-19 first seen in the U.K., South Africa, and Brazil. A new variation has also shown up in California.

DR. JORGE RODRIGUEZ, INTERNAL MEDICINE AND VIRAL SPECIALIST: What people really need to wrap their heads around is the fact that the more infection there is in a community, in a country, the likelihood of almost the certainty that there will be variants and the virus's goal is to survive.


So it will be the strongest variants that will eventually survive.

SANDOVAL: Dr. Paul Offit who sits on the FDA's advisory committee says there's still no sign that these variants are immune to the current generation of vaccines.

DR. PAUL OFFIT, DIRECTOR OF THE VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: Here's when you should get really concerned you should get concerned with people who received, for example, two doses of the Pfizer vaccine or two doses of the Moderna vaccine. That despite that that they still get hospitalized or die and that the reason is is because they are infected with one of these variants. That's when you know that the vaccine's specific immunity has failed.

SANDOVAL: A new peer study suggesting children may be safer in school than staying home so long as centralized guidelines and improved testing from the federal government are made available. E.R. Dr. Darria Long and her colleagues at the University of Tennessee authored the study.

DR. DARRIA LONG, UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE: When you're testing and doing these things you can identify where the outbreak is. And instead of flying blind you can be very strategic in who you quarantine and allow the rest of the school to be in place. That was the key point. If we do these things, we can keep the majority of children in school safely.

SANDOVAL: And be advised, starting tomorrow night, all travelers on public transportation in the U.S. will be required to wear a mask per the federal government. Six major cities tell CNN they are already in compliance with the order.


SANDOVAL: This morning federal and state governments across the country are racing to vaccinate populations as soon as possible, but the reality is that even with the most optimistic forecast, it seems that many of us may not actually be vaccinated until the summer, Christi and Victor, and that would be after another predicted spike that we may experience in the spring.

PAUL: Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in now emergency room physician Dr. Rob Davidson. Dr. Davidson, welcome back.

Let's start here with the variants. Dr. Fauci predicts that these new -- three new variants, South African, Brazilian, the U.K. variant as well could soon outnumber the cases of the original strain. Should that, and if so how, should that impact or alter the vaccine strategy?

DR. ROB DAVIDSON, WEST MICHIGAN EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Well, it seems so far with these variants that the vaccine is effective and the goal of the vaccine, just like your reporter said, is to keep people out of the hospital, keep people from getting terribly sick, to keep people from dying. And everything we know so far is that these vaccines that we have will do this against these current variants.

But, you know, as everyone has been saying, and you hate to sound like a broken record but you have to keep saying it, as long as virus transmission continues to stay high, that increases the likelihood of having more variants, more mutations, and eventually -- hopefully, not, but eventually one could sneak through that could evade the current vaccines. That's what we are trying to avoid.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We talked over the holiday season about the potential for a spike in cases, a spike in hospitalizations. Let's put up a couple of charts. These are the charts showing the change in -- these are deaths. Let's put up the cases and let's put up the hospitalization charts to show from the holiday season the slope that we're seeing. There it is.

These are the new cases headed downward, daily average, seven-day moving average and also the hospitalizations now below 100,000 for the first time in several months. Is this the effect of the vaccine, fewer than 10 percent of people have been at least gotten one shot? What are we seeing here?

DAVIDSON: Well, I think it's tough to know exactly because there are so many moving pieces. Certainly the vaccine has some impact. I think having an administration that is wearing masks and mandating masks has some impact. I think, you know, we are post -- you know, many, many weeks post-Thanksgiving and post-Christmas, and so I think we are starting to see some of that effect.

But we have to remember that spike is so incredibly high that even though the numbers are coming down, we have seen numbers go up and come down, you know, in cycles during this pandemic. We are still at an unbelievably high number per day, number of deaths, number of cases and hospitalizations.

If we relax things now, this yo-yo effect that we have seen can just snap right back. And so, again, you hate to -- you hate to sound like a broken record, but we just have to keep doing the masks, doing the social distancing and getting the relief that is needed to allow people to do that.

BLACKWELL: First 10 days of the Biden administration, what is your assessment of their management of the pandemic and the vaccine program?

DAVIDSON: Yes, I think it's clear that they came into a situation that, in some ways, was worse than they had expected. Not knowing -- I saw a reporting that they don't know where 20 million doses of vaccine actually are that have gone to the states.


And so I think they are just trying to get their head around that. But I appreciate that the executive orders are reimbursing states at higher rates for National Guard usage and vaccines, that they are going to be setting up FEMA vaccination centers, you know, federally- run vaccination centers. I appreciate the health care moves to try to expand health care by opening up the marketplace by reducing impediments for Medicaid. This is necessary with so many people suffering from this virus and soon to be having pre-existing conditions from the virus.

So I think, you know, they are hitting all the right notes and certainly we have to give them a bit of a grace period. But that is coming to a -- coming to a close fairly soon. And so we are going to have to see these numbers of vaccines go up. We are going to have to see the effect of an administration with a plan come into focus in the last few weeks.

BLACKWELL: Last one here. We spend so much time talking to people who do not wear masks on a regular basis. Let's now talk to people who actually wear the mask when they're in public when they can't practice social distancing. Should they wear a second one? Where to you weigh in on this argument that more is better?

DAVIDSON: More is better. We do know that wearing two masks increases the effectiveness of protecting the individual. I am not sure if there is data showing how it might increase the -- or decrease the amount of virus you could spread. But I know my wife and I are having our two kids who are in middle school and high school wear two masks to school since the CDC came out with that information. And so I do think, yes, more is better.

BLACKWELL: All right. Dr. Rob Davidson, thanks so much for your time this morning.

DAVIDSON: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Enjoy the week.

DAVIDSON: Thanks. You too.


PAUL: A quick agreement on a COVID-19 relief bill may be in question. Former President Trump's impeachment trial is just a little over a week away, and it threatens to stop all other business in the Senate.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in now Jasmine Wright from Washington. Jasmine, the president had hoped the Senate could split the day doing impeachment business in the morning, other business in the afternoon. Republicans say that will not happen.

How is the Biden administration moving forward? They have still got a lot to do in these early days.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Victor, the White House wakes up this morning with just a little over a week left to focus on these COVID negotiations before that Senate trial starts taking over the chamber. CNN has learned that President Biden met with his advisers yesterday to talk about the COVID relief bill and how to push it forward. Now, President Biden has repeatedly said that he wants to pass this with bipartisan support, but he has also made clear that if Republicans continue to stall, Democrats could go it alone. But to do that, to go it alone, Democrats have to stay united. They have to stick together because of their slim majority. They cannot afford to lose a single vote.

Now we are starting to see some cracks in that effort. Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia appeared to be frustrated about an interview that Vice President Harris did in his state to push that COVID bill using her popularity in a sort of public pressure campaign. He said that no one called him. Take a listen here.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We are going to try to find a bipartisan pathway for it. I think we need to but we need to work together. That's not a way of working together what was done.


WRIGHT: Now, of course, Manchin is going to be a key vote in any COVID negotiations going forward. Looking ahead, sources tell CNN that President Biden and Vice President Harris will ramp up that pressure continuing to make phone calls and doing remote interviews despite any of the blow back -- Victor, Christi.

PAUL: No problem. Listen, the White House, we understand, says that President Biden will also apparently be signing these executive actions. So what have you heard about that, Jasmine, about where that's going?

WRIGHT: The White House has also been clear that just because these COVID negotiations are going on, they are still doing their regular day-to-day business. So for next week President Biden will make his first trip to the State Department since taking office to sit down and visit with his Secretary of State Tony Blinken.

On Tuesday, he will sign more executive orders as you just mentioned, Christi, this time on immigration, adding to his 42 already signed executive orders. And on Friday, lastly, he will give remarks on jobs and the economy -- Victor, Christi.

PAUL: All right. Jasmine Wright, always good to have you here. Thank you, madam.

So later this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION" President Biden faces his first legislative test on COVID relief. Top economic adviser Brian Deese is joining Dana Bash. Also exclusive interviews with Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Rob Portman and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. That's "STATE OF THE UNION" and it starts at 9:00 Eastern this morning.


BLACKWELL: We want to get you the latest on the protests happening across Russia and supportive opposition leader Alexey Navalny. A police are already detaining protesters and people who support the protesters. We're going to take you live to Moscow, next.


BLACKWELL: For the second weekend in a row people are protesting in support Kremlin opposition leader Alexey Navalny in cities across Russia.

PAUL: Navalny was detained in Moscow two weeks ago. That was as he returned to Russia after recovering from being poisoned by a nerve agent. That's an attack that likely was ordered by the Kremlin.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is on the ground there in Moscow at one of these rallies that we're seeing today.

So Fred, good to see you this morning. How widespread are the protests? And what are you seeing on the ground there?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're extremely wide, you know, wide spread. They've gone basically throughout the entire country. They started hours ago in the Far East of Russia and have since spread to other countries or other towns across north (ph).


So if you look at here right now, it's actually quite remarkable. There's a huge column of people who are marching down the streets here. Probably several 1000 people who are marching down the street here, right now.

What they're trying to do is they are trying to get to the prison where Alexey Navalny is being held. Now, they originally had wanted to go to the headquarters of Russia's intelligence service of the FSB. But the Russian government, Vladimir Putin essentially shut down all of Central Moscow, shut down several subway stops in the Russian capital as well.

And then before the protest, even started, started arresting people, detaining people on a gigantic scale, essentially, trying to stop these protests from even taking hold. But as you can see people nevertheless are marching here in the Russian capital and are calling for Alexey Navalny's released and, of course, some also calling for Vladimir Putin to step down as well guys.

BLACKWELL: Fred, I got an e-mail alert this morning that you were detained while covering the protest. What happened?

PLEITGEN: Yes. Yes, that's exactly right, Victor.

So essentially, what happened was, as the protests started, we were on a square and the police came in and full force, riot police. This basically started detaining almost anyone. Also detaining, by the way, a lot of journalists who were covering the rally there. And I was among those who was also briefly detained. They took me away, take me started towards a police van. At some point, they seem to realize that I was a foreign journalist. And then I showed them my credentials, and then they let me go.

But there were a lot of people who have been detained and who remain in detention. And it really seems as though they're trying to detain as many people as possible to try and stop these protests from becoming full force and very large. But I mean, look at the crowd that's going past here, it is a lot of people who are out on the streets, despite the fact that the authorities have been trying everything that they can to prevent that.

There's a lot of cops on the street, riot cops on the street, military police on the street. Nevertheless, the folks here have managed to come out and have managed to do this for a second weekend in a row.

And again, Moscow, of course not the only city where this is happening. A lot of other major and smaller Russian cities also see large crowds' turnout.

Here also, you see some motorists honking their support for the folks who are marching right now, again, trying to march to that jail, where Alexey Navalny is being held guys.

BLACKWELL: Yes, also saw the alert that Navalny's wife was protesting as well.

Glad to see that your detention did not last very long. Fred Pleitgen, thanks so much for the report.

PAUL: Thank you, Fred.

So we have some details for you, new details about who helped plan and pay for the rally before the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol. And they had help from afar right conspiracy theorist. We'll tell you just ahead.



PAUL: Well less than a month since a mob of Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol, we now know at least 175 people have been charged in connection with that riot. One of the latest is this woman allegedly heard saying she wanted to shoot House Leader Nancy Pelosi.

BLACKWELL: CNN climate justice reporter Katelyn Polantz joins us now.

Katelyn, what do you know?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, with these two women, those charges that were filed this week, those are really the types of charges that have become emblematic in this investigation. There are 175 people charged now by federal prosecutors. And those charges are people who were seen on video, took video themselves went to the Capitol and the FBI is identifying them.

Those are very basic cases at this point. And in the coming weeks, we're going to start seeing additional cases, more indictments that fill out details, indictments that show us that investigators are really learning a lot more about what had happened behind the scenes maybe before the pro-Trump rally that turned into the siege of the Capitol. And we may even start seeing some guilty pleas.

And so, we were in the basic stages of these cases. We still are seeing cases in those very early stages. But people are talking to the FBI.

Those two women, one of them had said that she wanted to shoot Nancy Pelosi or was looking for Nancy Pelosi. They did speak to the FBI. And so those cases as they move forward are just going to get in more detail. We might learn about more conspiracies and things like that.

PAUL: So Katelyn, detail for us what we're hearing from the family of Brian Sicknick. I understand they are talking, he of course, is the police officer who was killed during that riot. What are they saying today?

POLANTZ: That's right. We have learned a little bit not very much about the killing of Officer Brian Sicknick. He was a Capitol Police Officer, he was hit in the head and died days later after the siege.

That is a is a death that we know investigators have sought a lot of information about and we know that they are looking to bring charges related to that death. In the meantime, he is set to lie in honor. His body will lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol building on Tuesday.

And congressional leaders were thanked by the family of Officer Sicknick over the weekend.

And in their statement they said, "We also wish to express our appreciation to the millions of people who have offered their support and sympathies during this difficult time. Knowing our personal tragedy and loss is shared by our nation brings hope for healing." Christi and Victor.

PAUL: Katelyn Polantz, so good to have you with us. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: We have some new details this morning about who funded the rally that led to that deadly attack on the Capitol. "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that fringe conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, pledged his financial support in exchange for a speaking slot at the rally and also arranged to bring in another major donor for the event.


You'll remember it was there that President Trump urge his supporters to march to the Capitol. He said he would go but then he didn't and take back the country.

PAUL: CNN Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter with us now.

Brian, good to see you this morning. What do you know?


PAUL: What have we learned about Alex Jones and his involvement in this rally?

STELTER: Yes, this march to save America, that's what it was called on the morning of January 6. This was over near the White House, and it was a jumping off point for what eventually became a violent riot over at the Capitol.

We don't -- we haven't known a lot about the funders of this rally. But "The Wall Street Journal" this weekend is reporting that there were significant GOP donors, Trump donors really, who were involved in setting it up, paying for the stage and all of that, and that Alex Jones was facilitating this.

Now Alex Jones, of course, is the conspiratorial paranoid host of InfoWars, fringe website that was booted from Facebook and other platforms a couple of years ago at this point. So he's really been isolated in recent years, mostly off the public Internet. But he is still online, he is still does have a fan base, and he was in D.C. on the sixth holding a megaphone giving speeches, he was seen out in the crowd near the Capitol as well.

So it's an example of the insidious forces that all led up to the riot. This conspiracy theorist who has promoted all sorts of pro-Trump anti democrat narratives, lots of crazy, you know, conspiracy theories about sandy hook (ph) and other things.

You know, they have his tentacles in this in the -- in the rally. Beforehand, it goes to start to paint a picture of what happened in the hours leading up to the riot, and who was involved. And of course, that's what Democrats want to present eventually at an impeachment trial.

I think as more and more information comes out every day, we learn more and more of what led up to the riot. And we can have a fuller understanding of how this happened.

BLACKWELL: Brian, we always appreciate you coming up early for us before reliable sources at 11. What's coming up on the show this morning?

STELTER: We have a very special tribute to a CNN legend later today. Rick Davis is retiring today. He's been the head of standards and practices for CNN for more than 20 years.

But he was with CNN at its birth on launch day. He's the last remaining executive at CNN who was there with Ted Turner on launch day. So I sat down with them for an in depth interview about his career and about, you know, the future of journalism, so we're going to pay tribute to it later today.

BLACKWELL: Well-deserved. Always a great support to Davis.

PAUL: Amen to that.

BLACKWELL: All right. "Reliable Sources" airs at 11 Eastern.

Stelter, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Brian.

STELTER: Thank you.

PAUL: Yes. Today at 11:00, you can see more often there.

All righty. Right now millions of you are under a winter weather warning. Look at this radar heavy snowfall in the forecast from New York to D.C. We've got the latest developments for you from the CNN Weather Center after the break.



PAUL: So more than 110 million people are under winter weather alerts this morning. This is from the southern Great Lakes all the way up to New England. This is a powerful storm system and it's intensifying.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Allison Chinchar has been tracking the storm. Alison, I called my parents to make sure that they had all the groceries and they were staying in the house. They're all ready. Heavy snowfall coming to Baltimore.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is. And then cold temperatures afterwards, which means a lot of it's really just going to stay in place once it snows. So we are talking about a pretty big area here.

You can see all these winter weather alerts. They stretch from Minnesota to Maine and then down even into portions of the Carolinas. So this is going to affect a lot of people over the next 48 to 72 hours.

Some of the snowfall totals for numbers that have already fallen Westchester, Illinois already picking up over nine inches. But other states Indiana, Wisconsin also picking up several inches.

Now these numbers you may be looking and say, well, that's not that bad. But keep in mind, it's still snowing, those numbers are likely going to grow across portions of the Midwest. Here you can see really the bullseye of that low pressure is still over in the Midwest.

It's going to continue to slide to the east as we go through the rest of the day today. So Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, it's snowing there right now. But that snow will spread further off to the east. As we continue to make our way not only through today, but also into Monday.

Ice is also going to be a concern too, especially across Virginia and portions of Maryland. Again, we cannot emphasize enough how widespread the impacts are going to be from the storm. However, not only do you have the heavy snowfall, you also have very strong winds that's going to blow that snow reducing the visibility and also power outages because those winds in turn will also likely knock some trees and power lines down.

The bullseye may be hard to see. Around New York City is where we have the extreme level of impacts. So do keep that in mind, not only for today again, but especially on Monday.

Here's a look at that low pressure system as we go through the day today. It starts to make its way towards the coast. But then notice it goes off the coast.

This is when we start to think this will transition into a nor'easter sometime on Monday. The biggest impacts from that nor'easter are likely going to be in the northeast areas of Vermont, Maine, New York stretching down to portions of Pennsylvania. This is where we have the heaviest forecast snowfall accumulations.

Again, Pennsylvania up to Maine, one foot of snow is likely to fall. But notice you've got a couple of spots in there too, Victor and Christi where we potentially could get over a foot of snow. You're talking 14, 16 even 18 inches.

Those will be isolated spots. But still, with all of that snow on there, it's not really going to go very much.

Now one thing to note is where that low pressure system goes once it goes out to sea is really going to be very important. Because if it's too close, you're going to get more of a rain snow mix and that snow is not going to accumulate too high or if it goes too far offshore, you just don't have as much moisture.

So those numbers we gave you Victor and Christi are for now, but they could still change.


PAUL: All righty. Alison Chinchar, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: In just a moment, we're going to push forward on our top story this. The major shakeup just days before the start of former President Trump's impeachment trial, his entire legal team has quit. We'll tell you what we're learning about why they walked away and what that means for his defense. New Day continues in just a moment.


PAUL: So animal planet has tapped dynamic duo. Vic is already smiling.

Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg to host the 17th annual Puppy Bowl.

BLACKWELL: Yes, this story. Stewart will represent Team Rough, Snoop Dogg will represent Team Fluff for the Superbowl Sunday show. And the puppy ball will feature dozens of MP's., most valuable pups from rescue shelters.

They will wear uniforms competing for the Lombardi Trophy.